Bad News Ramblings…with unrelated pictures


It is a little after 8, I have been at my ‘desk’ – it is really a plywood work station in a plywood cubicle that our S3 & I built.  We rebuilt pretty much everything since we arrived – anyway, for over an hour, I have read through all my emails and have responded to a few messages centering around concern for my safety in light of the shootings near Kandahar.

We have had a string of bad news involving the Afghans, one compounding another.  At this point none of us really know what the facts are.  The Taliban spin events to far-fetched extremes at every opportunity.  Anything they put out is inflated beyond the realms of remote possibility.  In this day and age of the need for instant news, a lot of raw statements get published as fact and are never really ‘fixed’.

A very recent example for me was the shooting in January.  I read dozens of stories on various news outlets and I can honestly say there were errors of fact in all.  I was there, on the scene and the events described in some of the articles – from the number of shooters to the number of victims – seemed to describe a different event altogether.  My point is, despite what is being reported, we do not know the facts of the event at this time.  Unfortunately, the facts will not matter.  One victim, one hundred victims, it is still a horrible atrocity that will set our efforts back significantly.

For the most part, in Zabul, we have not experienced any direct negative effects & I do not expect we will.  I am sure we will have some negative events as the weather continues to improve, but I think it would be hard to determine if they are linked to these events or are just part of the natural operational flow.  All we can do is to continue our mission, continue to work with our Afghan partners and continue to show that there is more good from our presence than bad.

That being said – here are a few miscellaneous pictures.  But first a disclaimer.  I am not a photographer, I am a guy with a great camera that likes to take pictures.  I do not like post processing, so 99% of my pictures are straight out of the camera.  Every once in a while I may crop something, but rarely & it is the only post processing I ever do.  I have tried to use Photoshop among others & I can honestly say it ruins the whole picture-taking experience for me. If I had to sit & fiddle with color, etc with my pictures before I could post them, I wouldn’t take them.  So, I hope you can enjoy them, flaws & all.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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4 responses »

  1. Luke Heikkila says:

    Thank you for writing…I echo your thoughts on how quickly the combination of fact & rumor emerge. In the race to get information out facts aren’t checked; bad info is relayed and when accurate information is discovered retractions of the rumors are not made. Here in the States it is safe to say we don’t know any less or more than you do; information is slow to emerge.

    Your words provided me with a certain level of calm than I haven’t felt since I read the initial accounts of what happened near Kandahar 48 hours ago.

  2. You have an amazing collection of photos! Love everyone of them! Thank you.

  3. Julia Welch says:

    Thank you for writing and sharing your great pics. The work that ZADT is doing will significantly improve the lives of the Afghan people today, and for the generations that follow. A huge undertaking at best…….well wishes for your success on your missions.

    Thank you for your service.
    God Bless and be safe.

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